NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022

A record night for Timo Meier, the Blues retire Chris Pronger’s number, an update on Carey Price, the stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier set a personal and franchise record with a five-goal performance in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Tomas Hertl collected four assists and Erik Karlsson had three as the Sharks (44 points) opened a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is the fifth player in the past 25 years to score five goals in a game, joining Mika Zibanejad (2020), Patrik Laine (2018), Johan Franzen (2011) and Marian Gaborik (2007). The last player to tally six goals was Hall-of-Famer Darryl Sittler in 1976.

The Colorado Avalanche extended their home winning streak to 14 games by downing the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on a shootout goal by Mikko Rantanen. Pavel Francouz made 25 saves for the Avalanche after Darcy Kuemper left the game midway through the second period with a head injury following a collision with Wild winger Jordan Greenway. Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist in regulation. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche moved into first overall in the Western Conference with 53 points. With 47 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot.

Jason Zucker scored twice and Jake Guentzel tallied as the game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3, handing the latter their fifth loss in their last six games. Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen each collected two assists as the Penguins have won 13 of their last 15 contests to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. The Golden Knights (48 points) sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a three-point lead over the Kings.

The St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on the night they retired former captain Chris Pronger’s No. 44. Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev each scored two goals and collected two assists while Ryan O’Reilly had a three-point performance. Both clubs have 51 points but the Blues moved ahead of the Predators into second place in the Western Conference standings with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pronger spent nine of his 18 NHL seasons with the Blues, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1999-2000. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named as one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history in 2017.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their eighth straight defeat. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Isles, who’ve won five of their last seven contests.

Dylan Larkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Detroit Red Wings over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

The Seattle Kraken snapped a nine-game losing skid by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on shootout goals by Ryan Donato and Joonas Donskoi. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves.

A three-point performance by Nick Schmaltz gave the Arizona Coyotes a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, giving the latter their sixth straight loss. The sad-sack Canadiens are dead last in the overall standings with seven wins and 19 points in 37 games.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they announced goaltender Carey Price will have to restart rehabilitation on his surgically repaired knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in the offseason but the week-long break due to COVID-19 earlier this month that closed the club’s practice facility put him back at square one in his rehab. There is no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Price returns to action before the end of this season. His rehab was also delayed by a month earlier in this campaign after spending four weeks in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

This should also put the kibosh on that silly speculation suggesting teams in need of a proven starting goalie (hi, there, Edmonton Oilers!) would try to acquire Price before the trade deadline. His hefty contract and full no-movement clause made moving him almost impossible. The uncertain deadline for his return should kill off that slim chance.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 16, 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, that will mollify critics who believe Marchand got screwed by being passed over for the 2022 All-Star Game (end sarcasm mode).

TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Connor Brown will be sidelined at least three weeks with a broken jaw.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas, Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss are among the latest players to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Seattle Kraken claimed Karson Kuhlman off waivers from the Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2022

The Panthers remain atop the overall standings, Alex Ovechkin and Marc-Andre Fleury reach more milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers (57 points) maintained their place atop the overall standings by crushing the Columbus Blue Jackets 9-2. MacKenzie Weegar collected four points, Aaron Ekblad had three assists while Carter Verhaeghe and Anton Lundell each scored two goals. Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots in the first period.

Third-period goals by Ross Colton and Alex Killorn lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Dallas Stars 3-1, handing the latter their seventh straight road loss. Nikita Kucherov chipped in two assists for the Lightning (57 points), who sit second overall due to the Panthers holding two games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves to shut out the New York Islanders 2-0. Alex Ovechkin scored into an empty net to reach the 25-goal plateau for the 16th time in his career. Only seven other players (Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Gartner, Teemu Selanne, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Marcel Dionne) have as many 25-goal seasons. It was a costly win for the Capitals as T.J. Oshie left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. They hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for the Chicago Blackhawks to pick up his 70th career shutout in a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, becoming the 14th netminder to reach that milestone. Brandon Hagel, Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik were the goal scorers as the Ducks drop three straight games to fall into third place in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

The Los Angeles Kings moved into second place in the Pacific by beating the Seattle Kraken 3-1. Phillip Danault scored twice and Adrian Kempe tallied his career-high 17th goal. The Kings have 45 points but hold three games in hand over the Ducks.

Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves to pick up his first shutout with the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had two goals and an assist as the Avalanche (51 points) move into first place in the Western Conference with four games in hand over the Nashville Predators.

Speaking of the Predators, they fell 4-3 to the Boston Bruins on an overtime goal by Taylor Hall. He and Brad Marchand each finished the game with a goal and an assist, with Marchand reaching the 20-goal plateau for the 11th time in his career. Juuse Saros made 40 saves for the Predators. The Bruins have won five straight games and hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins remain three points up on the Bruins for the first Eastern wild-card spot by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Jake Guentzel as he and Kris Letang each had a goal and an assist. Louis Domingue turned aside 40 shots for the victory. With 42 points, the Sharks hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Chris Kreider snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their seventh straight defeat. Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for the Rangers while teammate Artemi Panarin collected two assists. The Rangers sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 54 points.

The Carolina Hurricanes remain two points back of the Rangers by dropping the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist while Frederik Andersen stopped 30 shots. The Canucks have lost four of their last five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After rattling off seven straight wins after hiring Bruce Boudreau as head coach it appears the Canucks are returning to earth. Trade rumors about J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat could resume if the losing skid continues.

Third-period goals by Auston Matthews and Ilya Mikheyev rallied the Toronto Maple Leafs over the St. Louis Blues 6-5. Matthews and Mitch Marner each had a goal and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly scored twice for the Blues. The Leafs (51 points) remain in third place in the Atlantic Division while the Blues (49 points) are third in the Western Conference.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 to hand the latter their sixth straight loss. Josh Norris tallied twice for the Senators while Oilers superstar Connor McDavid was held scoreless. With 38 points, the Oilers are four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaky goaltending and porous defense continue to dog the Oilers and threaten to derail their season.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 22 saves for his first shutout with the Detroit Red Wings to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists while rookie winger Lucas Raymond scored and chipped in an assist.

SPORTSNET: Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak and Washington Capitals winger Conor Sheary were among the players placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol on Saturday.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Reid Boucher had pled guilty to a third-degree count of criminal sexual assault against a minor stemming from two incidents in 2011. 

Then 17 and a member of the United States National Team Development Program, Boucher forced his then-12-year-old billet sister to perform oral sex on him twice, doing so by threatening to blackmail her with a video in the first incident and then threatening to tell people about their first non-consensual encounter.

After spending parts of six NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks, Boucher has been playing in the KHL since last season. He was allowed by the judge overseeing his case to enter a plea that will result in no up-front jail time. If he successfully completes his sentence, the charge won’t appear on his criminal record. Meanwhile, his victim has dealt with the trauma of those incidents, struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders and self-harm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boucher pleads guilty to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl twice 11 years ago, leaving her traumatized for over a decade, and gets a slap on the wrist and continues his playing career. So much for justice.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2022

Big nights for Evgeni Malkin and Nikita Kucherov, rapper Kodak Black creates a stir at the Canucks-Panthers game, the Oilers confirm interest in free-agent Evander Kane, Tuukka Rask returns to the Bruins & much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored twice and collected an assist in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Malkin had been sidelined by offseason knee surgery. Jeff Carter also scored twice for the Penguins (47 points), who hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With 45 points, the Ducks remain three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Nikita Kucherov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each finished the night with three points as the Lightning (53 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference.

The Florida Panthers 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks was overshadowed by a viral video that appeared to show rapper Kodak Black having sex in a luxury box during the game. Panthers forward Sam Reinhart tallied two goals and collected an assist as the Panthers (53 points) hold first place in the overall standings with two games in hand over the Lightning. It was the Canucks first regulation loss under head coach Bruce Boudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports claiming Black’s female companion was merely twerking against him. Regardless, this incident created a stir on Twitter last night.

Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nashville winger Luke Kunin also netted two goals. It was the fifth straight win for the Predators, who sit atop the Western Conference with 50 points. Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who were playing without blueliner Bowen Byram after he left the club for personal reasons. The Av didn’t release any further details about Byram.

William Nylander opened the scoring and tallied the winning goal in a shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. The Golden Knights forced overtime and the shootout by overcoming a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals by William Karlsson and Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas sits second in the Western Conference with 48 points while the Leafs (49 points) sit third in the Atlantic Division.

An overtime goal by Logan Couture lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns collected three assists as his club has moved into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 41 points. The Wings were without captain Dylan Larkin as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He could return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Chicago Blackhawks got a two-goal performance from Alex DeBrincat to double up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Patrick Kane collected an assist to extend his points streak to five games.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS: Player agent Dan Milstein, who represents Evander Kane, expects his client will sign a new contract with an NHL team by this weekend. The San Jose Sharks terminated its contract with the 30-year-old winger citing breach of contract on Sunday. The NHLPA has filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland confirmed he has an interest in Kane and has contacted Milstein. Holland acknowledged the winger’s well-documented personal baggage but said he has a responsibility as a general manager to investigate every situation.

I would want to get an understanding with what’s going on in that person’s life. I believe in second chances,” said Holland. He also gave head coach Dave Tippett a vote of confidence as the club attempts to reverse its skid in the standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland’s interest in Kane has already drawn some criticism in the Edmonton media. However, there’s speculation the Oilers could have the former Shark under contract soon. Stay tuned…

Speaking of the Oilers, goaltender Alex Stalock is trying to make a comeback. He’s missed this season with a heart condition but has received medical clearance by his doctors to attempt to return to action. He will report to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: To no one’s surprise, the Bruins signed Tuukka Rask to a one-year, $1 million contract yesterday. The 34-year-old goaltender had been recovering from offseason hip surgery. The club demoted Jeremy Swayman to their AHL affiliate in Providence to make room for Rask’s new contract.

SPORTSNET: New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore were among the notables to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol yesterday.

OTTAWA SUN: The ongoing loss of hockey-related revenue due to attendance restrictions on Canadian NHL teams is generating concern over its effect upon the league’s hockey-related revenue for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The salary will rise by $1 million next season to $82.5 million as per the CBA extension regardless of this season’s HRR. However, it will affect the players’ repayment of their debt owed to the NHL owners for maintaining the salary cap at its current level despite the decline of HRR over the past two seasons due to COVID-19. It could take longer than originally projected for the players to make the owners whole, which will affect salary cap projections beyond 2023-24.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings Hall-of-Famer Nicklas Lidstrom has been hired as the club’s new vice president of hockey operations.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins general manager Ron Hextall was taken to task by Philadelphia Flyers legend and senior advisor Bob Clarke. Appearing on the podcast Cam and Strick yesterday, Clarke claimed Hextall alienated everybody during his tenure as Flyers GM. He accused him of ignoring the Flyers’ scouts by choosing Nolan Patrick over Cale Makar in the 2017 draft and trading Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues. Hextall declined to comment about Clarke’s comments.

NHL.COM: The league yesterday announced the Florida Panthers’ Andrew Brunette, the Colorado Avalanche’s Jared Bednar, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour and the Vegas Golden Knights’ Peter DeBoer have been named as the head coaches for the 2022 NHL All-Star weekend (Feb. 4-5) in Las Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL appears determined to press on with the All-Star Game despite a plethora of postponed games requiring rescheduling due to the latest wave of COVID-19. The best players from every NHL team in one place for a meaningless game of glorified pond hockey in the middle of a pandemic. What could go wrong?

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Jon Merrill to a three-year, $3.6 million contract extension.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-assigned goaltender Zach Fucale to their AHL affiliate in Hershey now that Vitek Vanecek has recovered from a non-COVID illness.

THE ATHLETIC: Nate Prosser has announced his retirement. The 35-year-old defenseman played 360 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers from 2009-10 to 2020-21. He spent over nine seasons with the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Prosser in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2022

Should the Flames or Islanders consider signing Evander Kane? Should the Oilers try to acquire Canadiens winger Josh Anderson? Which defensemen could the Panthers target? Will the Penguins go shopping at the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE FLAMES OR ISLANDERS SIGN EVANDER KANE?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane wonders whether the Calgary Flames should consider signing San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane after he cleared unconditional waivers yesterday. He acknowledged the 30-year-old winger’s well-documented personal baggage and reputation as a bothersome teammate but observed he’s a proven point producer who could be an affordable free-agent signing.

Will there be teams interested in signing Evander Kane as a free agent? (NHL Images)

Macfarlane suggested the Flames should at least consider that option given their need to add another scoring forward. He felt general manager Brad Treliving should poll his players to determine if they’d be open to adding Kane to their roster. He also felt head coach Darryl Sutter might be able to handle the talented-but-troublesome winger.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner also examined whether the New York Islanders should bring in Kane to provide a boost to their sagging offense. He believes they should avoid him at all cost given Kane has proven to be untrustworthy and disdainful of rules, something that wouldn’t be tolerated under general manager Lou Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks can terminate Kane’s contract without penalty for breach of contract owing to the winger allegedly violating AHL COVID protocols and failing to report back to their AHL affiliate on time. However, the NHLPA is expected to file a grievance perhaps as early as today. It could take several weeks for an arbiter to determine the outcome.

Despite Kane’s reputation as a bad teammate and his off-ice issues, there are reportedly teams that could be willing to sign him to an affordable short-term contract if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, I doubt you’ll see his agent receive any formal offers until his grievance has been settled.

SHOULD THE OILERS TARGET JOSH ANDERSON?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wondered if the Oilers should attempt to pry away Josh Anderson from the floundering Montreal Canadiens. He pointed out they lack a “power forward, mean-streak type in their top six.”

Anderson is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury but the 27-year-old winger is expected back early next month. He’s in the second year of a seven-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million and carries an eight-team no-trade list. Matheson wondered if the Habs would be interested in an offer of a 2022 first-round pick, prospect Xavier Bourgault and “something else.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know what plans Canadiens hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton and whoever he hires as a general manager has in store for their club before the trade deadline. They are expected to shop pending unrestricted free agents like Ben Chiarot but they could entertain offers for players under contract beyond this season such as Anderson.

It probably wouldn’t hurt for the Oilers to contact the Canadiens about Anderson. However, he can’t address their pressing need to reduce their goals-against. Right now, the Oilers need a reliable starting goaltender. They shouldn’t be wasting their tradeable assets on a power forward. 

LATEST ON THE PANTHERS AND PENGUINS

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports the Panthers are in “go-for-it” mode this season and will be buyers at the March 21 NHL trade deadline. The main focus will be on bolstering the blueline.

Richards lists Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, Dallas’ John Klingberg, Montreal’s Ben Chiarot, Seattle’s Mark Giordano and Detroit’s Nick Leddy as potential trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Richards isn’t confident that the Panthers have sufficient trade capital to win a bidding war for Chyrchrun. He also suggested their limited salary-cap space could make it difficult to acquire Giordano or Leddy.

Klingberg could be affordable in cap hit and return but there’s no certainty the Stars will move him if they’re in playoff contention by the trade deadline. That leaves Chiarot, who has been linked to the Panthers by other NHL insiders.

The Canadiens’ asking price for Chiarot could be a first-round pick, but Panthers GM Bill Zito could be willing to pay that much for a rental shutdown defenseman with playoff experience. His $3.5 million cap hit could also be squeezed into their cap space if they move out another player or convince the Canadiens to absorb half of his cap hit.

NHL.COM: Dave McCarthy reports Pittsburgh Penguins team president Brian Burke is impressed by his club’s recent success this season. He also admitted that it will be difficult for his club to make any significant additions before the trade deadline.

Burke said his club will still be looking in the trade market but their limited salary-cap space will make it tough to swing a major deal. He’s also reluctant to continue borrowing against the team’s future to address present needs. He felt they must stop the trend where they give up a lot for a 20 percent chance of winning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins really don’t have much choice. They’re playing well now but they have an aging core of talent such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang who will soon have to be replaced. Gutting their future for a quick fix will only make the inevitable rebuild much longer and more painful.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game as the Penguins get their 10th straight win, Nathan MacKinnon has a five-point performance, Joe Thornton and Jakub Voracek reach milestones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game (two goals, one assist) as his Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 to pick up their 10th straight win. Jake Guentzel also tallied twice while Kris Letang collected three assists. With 45 points, the Penguins have a comfortable hold on the first wild-card berth in the very tight Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flyers (32 points) have lost three straight and sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Bruins, they failed to gain ground on the Penguins by dropping a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Matt Boldy scored what proved to be the game-winner in his NHL debut while teammate Kirill Kaprizov left the game in the second period following what Wild coach Dean Evason called a “predatory hit” by Bruins forward Trent Frederic. Minnesota (42 points) holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but sits just five points out of first in the Conference. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 12 points in a 7-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, Landeskog tallied a hat trick and collected an assist while Rantanen has a goal and two helpers as the Avs (42 points) picked up their third straight win to move into third place in the Central Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up two assists in his first game since Oct. 16 to help his club defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning sits atop the overall standings with 51 points. The Flames (40 points) are third in the Pacific Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down the New York Rangers 5-1, spoiling the return of Rangers coach Gerard Gallant and winger Ryan Reaves to Vegas. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Golden Knights, who sit atop the Western Conference with 47 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 46 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each had two points on the night as the Predators sit one point behind the Golden Knights.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Stars’ first game in 16 days. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers while Joe Thornton played in his 1,700th NHL game. The Panthers (49 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference while the Stars (34 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes extended his career-high points streak to five games with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. MacKenzie Blackwood made 31 saves for the win. Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek played in his 1,000th NHL game. With the win, the Devils (33 points) are just three points out of a wild-card spot in the East.

The San Jose Sharks (37 points) moved within one point of a Western Conference wild-card spot by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist while goalie Adin Hill turned aside 37 shots.

A hat trick by Johan Larsson carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Boyd collected a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced forward Jay Beagle is out “long-term” with a lower-body injury and claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the latest players placed on the COVID protocol list.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have extended their break from all activities until Saturday due to COVID-19. Twenty-two of their players are currently on the COVID protocol list.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence in the latest step toward his eventual return with the club. The 34-year-old goaltender is working his way back from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be back with the Bruins by sometime next week.

TSN: Seattle Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz is out four to six weeks with a hand injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed winger Nick Ritchie on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas’ gamble on Ritchie failed to pay off. However, his other affordable offseason additions (Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and David Kampf) are working out rather well for the Leafs.

CTV SASKATOON: The Winnipeg Jets are looking into the possibility of playing some of their home games in Saskatoon due to strict COVID-19 capacity restrictions in Manitoba.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2022

The Penguins get their ninth straight win after making a minor trade, the Leafs hand the slumping Oilers another loss, plus the latest COVID updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAMES RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their ninth straight win by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3. Bryan Rust scored twice and set up another while Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues each had a goal and an assist. Brayden Schenn also had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Earlier in the day, the Penguins made a minor trade by shipping Sam Lafferty to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Alex Nylander.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were apparently concerned about losing Lafferty via waivers as they attempt to make room for Evgeni Malkin’s return. By trading him to the Blackhawks they get an asset in return who is exempt from waivers this season.

Nylander, 23, is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wiliam Nylander. A former first-round pick (eighth overall) with the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, he’s struggled to play up to lofty expectations. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and has spent this season in the minors. He’s expected to be sent to the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Ilya Mikheyev broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and Alex Kerfoot put the game away with an empty-netter. The Oilers played without Connor McDavid, who entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: McDavid, teammate Tyson Barrie and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson were among the latest players to enter COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: The league has postponed three more home games involving Canadian clubs. Those games are the Jan. 15 contest between the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens, the Jan. 17 matchup between the Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Jan. 18 games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: The NHL and 20 of its teams are suing five of their insurance providers over rejected COVID-19 claims citing losses of $1 billion. The suit was filed in California last June.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen doesn’t appreciate bearing the brunt of the criticism from head coach Dave Tippett and the media for the club’s struggles. “It’s not nice being thrown under the bus,” he told a Finnish media outlet. “I have to be better, but at the same time, we scored seven goals in my last six losses. I can’t score goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koskinen’s shaky goaltending is a factor in the Oilers’ recent swoon but he has a good point about the lack of goal production he’s received of late.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday announced the hiring of Chantal Machabee as their new vice-president of communications. She’s spent the past 32 years with the Quebec-based sports network RDS covering the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Machabee’s hiring was met with universal acclaim by her peers throughout the NHL media. She was a pioneer for women hoping to break into sports media.

TVA SPORTS: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’re currently meeting with potential candidates for the role of general manager. Among them is Patrick Roy and they’re expected to meet with him at the end of this week.

SPORTSNET: Eric Staal’s agent said his client is interested in playing for Team Canada at the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes announced a sports betting partnership with SaharaBets.